Local heroes honoured

THE co-founder of the Ambassadors Theatre Group, a police detective, and the former chief executive of the Green Investment Bank were the main Woking recipients of New Year’s Honours.

Rosemary Squire, who set up the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) in 1992 with her future husband Howard Panter, lives in West Byfleet and two of her children went to school in Horsell and Woodham.

Dame Rosemary Squire

She was appointed DBE for services to Theatre and Philanthropy. She is a patron of the Woking charity LinkAble, which paid tribute to her support.

LinkAble chair of trustees Brenda Infante, said: “Rosemary Squire supported LinkAble in establishing a drama group, ActAble. It has gone from strength to strength and opened the second day of the Woking Drama Festival 2017.

“Our service users have also benefitted from donations of tickets to the Christmas pantomime, thanks to Rosemary’s influcent.

“We are proud to call her our patron.”

Dame Rosemary said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this great honour which I take as tribute to the creativity and resourcefulness of theatre in this country. I hope that what I’ve been able to achieve will convince young entrepreneurs just starting out that they can succeed in this industry – and that it can be a fascinating and rewarding journey.

“I’d like to thank the many people that have worked alongside me over the years – the storytellers and creative teams, the people who make the wheels of the business turn and the supporters who believe so passionately in what we do.

But my greatest thanks go to my husband and business partner Howard Panter whose boundless optimism and enthusiasm are a continuing inspiration to me.”

Dame Rosemary had been appointed OBE in 2008. Sir Howard was knighted in 2013.

ATG’s roots began with the building of the New Victoria Theatre and adjacent cinema complex in Woking in 1992. Under the couple’s joint leadership the group built up a portfolio of almost 50 theatres across Britain and in the US and Australia, employing around 4,000 people.

Last year the couple stepped down as joint ATG chief executives  but retained some roles and financial interest in the group.

Shaun Kingsbury was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the green economy.

Mr Kingsbury was chief executive of the Green Investment Bank until August last year when it was sold by the government to an Australian-owned group.

He previously held several posts in different parts of the energy industry.

Detective Constable Alice Barr, who is based in Woking, was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in recognition of her support for families of murder victims.

DC Barr, said: “This has come as a complete shock and honour. It is was totally unexpected but I would like to accept this on behalf of the whole family liaison team at Surrey as it is not an easy role to undertake and we all support each other.

“The role means people only tend to meet us when the worst possible things have happened in their life. While we can’t make the situation better I feel passionately that we are there to help families manage and cope with the investigation and the justice process through their grief.”

Surrey’s Chief Fire Officer Russell Pearson has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal  for outstanding service to the emergency services and the public.

Mr Pearson joined Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in 1992 and was appointed Chief Fire Officer in 2007.

Two people from Windlesham were awarded a BEM.

Paul Roy, the vice-president of the Spinal Injuries Association, was honoured for his services to healthcare and Adele Silvey, who has been a volunteer at  Thames Valley Hospice since 1987, was recognised for her services to hospice patients.

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